GM's Self-Driving Cars to Be Ready for Ride-Sharing in 2019

04 December, 2017, 01:50 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • NATION-NOW     GM Driverless cars mean big savings for ride-hailing service users     
       GM Driverless cars mean big savings for ride-hailing

GM considers autonomous vehicles the "biggest business opportunity since the creation of the internet", a market with with multitrillion-dollar potential that goes hand-in-hand with electric vehicles.

"If we continue on our current rate of change we will be ready to deploy this technology, in large scale, in the most complex environments, in 2019", said GM President, Dan Ammann, during the conference call.

GM said it is important to be first to get the self-driving electric vehicles on the road to allow quick improvement of driver experience to give the company a competitive advantage.

In an announcement yesterday, the firm said it believes government regulations will support development of self driving cars in the coming few years. The Bolt's human backup driver disengaged the system and took the wheel after the auto waited for more than a minute behind the truck where construction workers ordered lunch.

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Delphi, an automotive supplier, has said it expects commercial vehicles to be using its autonomous system in limited areas in 2019.

Google's Waymo division is testing self-driving minivans in Phoenix, carrying passengers without a backup driver in the front seat.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, there are about 100 test Bolts (with a human inside) already driving autonomously around crowded San Francisco - a challenging environment considering the bustling streets rife with avid bikers, trolleys, and traffic.

GM says operating its self-driving cars will cost 40 percent less per mile than other ride-hailing firms that have to pay drivers. An employee in the back will be able to stop the vehicle by pushing a button but won't be able to steer the vehicle. Delphi recently bought autonomous software startup NuTonomy and would also partner with BMW AG, chipmaker Intel Corp and camera and visual recognition software maker Mobileye.

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The ambitious timeline could place GM in an enviable position: with the unique ability to provide existing ride-hailing companies like Lyft or Uber with a growing fleet of autonomous vehicles or, better yet, to unleash their own service.

The analyst said it made business sense for the different mobility services such as Lyft and Uber to shoulder initial expenses for the costly autonomous and electric vehicles.

The slides posted on GM's website also say the company is the leader in the field, but is focused on self-driving vehicles safety.

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